Once fire was discovered, the human diet evolved to include foods that were grilled, Flambéed, roasted and baked. The techniques allowed for great advancements both in the culinary field and human development. Now, nearly anyone with an oven and access to a supermarket have the ability to prepare their own foods, but how the task is completed can impact dental health.
Obesity is one of the most prevalent health conditions impacting Americans and the cause of the problem is being blamed on the average diet being too high in processed foods and too low in physical activity. The issue is also contributing to a rise in dental problems around the nation and as a result, individuals are being encouraged to watch how they prepare foods in order to control their weight and their oral health.
The food timeline dates back thousands of years and the earliest entries on the chart included the discovery of natural foods including whole grains, fruits and vegetables as well as the introduction of processed foods including condiments, candies and sodas (http://www.foodtimeline.org/). Pizza as we know it (featuring bread, tomato sauce and cheese) appeared on the scene in 1889 and while the food is thought to be relatively healthy when eaten in moderation and sans processed toppings like pepperoni, there are concerns that how it is prepared may actually increase the odds of oral cancer developing.
Rumor has it that in America, 350 slices of pizza are consumed each second. The food can be cooked in numerous was including conveyor belt ovens, electric ovens and even microwaves. However, connoisseurs of the food know that pizzas cooked in stone ovens, wood or coal-fired brick ovens have the best flavor. Sadly, those cooking methods also release smoke, some of which is absorbed directly into the food and can expose diners to increased risks of developing oral and throat cancer because of the carcinogens present in the byproduct of the cooking proces (International Journal of Epidemiology).
The Government's Nutrition Plate recommends that individuals eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables in order to garner proper nutrition. Tomatoes are one such food (categorized as a fruit) perfectly up to the task as they are rich vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Many nutritionists recommend increasing the consumption of cooked tomatoes, as they are an excellent source of lycopene, a natural chemical scientifically proven to be a natural cancer fighter. Consumers should know that not all cooked tomatoes are equal and limiting canned sources of the food may be best.
As the country became more industrialized, canning was an advancement that helped increase the shelf stability of food products, thus providing Americans with easy access to produce year round. Overtime (circa 1957), manufactures started to line cans with a plastic coating to help ensure the freshness of food. The chemical used for that process is Bisphenol A (BPA) and various studies have indicated that the compound may be toxic, and canned tomatoes have higher levels of BPA as overtime, the chemical will seep directly into the food.
Laboratory research on animals has shown that when ingested, BPA reacts similarly to the female sex hormone estrogen. High levels of estrogen have been linked to causing conditions such as breast cancer, mood swings, strokes and deep vein thrombosis. BPA has been linked to contributing to, childhood asthma, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, puberty acceleration, sexual dysfunction, ovarian cysts and more.
Fortunately there are many other options that allow individuals to get the benefits of cooked tomatoes without the risks. Options include buying fresh tomatoes and cooking a sauce at home (http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipes/11663?section=), buying jarred tomato sauce (make sure to look for a brand sans sugar or corn syrup) or buying canned goods that utilize enamel lining that have non-detectable traces of BPA (http://www.edenfoods.com/faqs/view.php?categories_id=6#faq48).
Many Americans have busy lives that constantly keep them on the run and reliant on processed foods for nutrition and energy. There is no denying the convenience of fast food or the negative effects too much can have on general well being and oral health. A majority of fast foods, snacks and soft drinks are produced in laboratory settings, not kitchens. Scientists make the foods and tastes are altered based on focus group feedback. Many times fillers, unpronounceable additives and sugars are added to enhance the flavor, smell and crunch of food, while nutrition takes second place. That is why cooking from scratch will provide the best foods for dental health as those who rely mostly on processed foods reported levels of dental problems, obesity and diabetes.
Since the average guy or gal has about 21 meals a week, there is plenty of wiggle room for making those meals at home in order to have more control over their nutrition. 1-800-DENTIST article entitled "Cooking Tips for Dental Health" includes some simple modifications that can be made to cooking strategies to get the greatest nutritional bang for the buck. Individuals looking for more advice should speak to their dentist directly. Those who need to find a dentist can also rely on 1-800-DENTIST to help with that as well.